Optima V2 accuracy challenge

Discussion in 'Inline Muzzleloading' started by treepotato, Mar 11, 2019.

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  1. Mar 11, 2019 #1

    treepotato

    treepotato

    treepotato

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    As a new muzzleloader, I'm not having much luck getting good accuracy from a new 50 cal CVA Optima V2 with nitride barrel (not Bergara finish polished, just the standard one). Starting to think not every new inline that gets shipped out is capable of 1 MOA accuracy.

    Any suggestions are welcome.

    Things tried so far:

    - Removed scope (Nikon P3 muzzleloader 3-9x), rings, and base; degreased screws and holes, remounted all with blue locktite
    - Firing without ramrod mounted
    - Using bench rest with sand bags front/rear
    - Only contact with gun on firing is cheek weld, firing hand, and consistent rear pressure into shoulder
    - Using BH209 powder, cleaning the CVA Blackhorn BP with a drill bit every 3-6 shots (not during a group)
    - Using CCI 209 mag primers (also tried Fed 209A), and O-rings from McMillan; zero blow back around primers
    - Assortment of bullets tried: XTP 44 cal 300 gr; XTP 45 cal 240 gr; XTP 45 cal 300 gr; Barnes MZ Expanders 300 gr; Barnes T-EZ 290 gr; Hornady SST-ML 300 gr; and a pack of PowerBelts
    - Lightly knurling the bullets by rolling between two files; also tried without knurling
    - Using spire point bullet seating tip for those kinds of bullets
    - Assortment of sabots from the ones that came pre-packed with bullets plus Harvester green and black crush ribs, and MMP HPH 12 and 24 black sabots
    - Indexing sabots when loading to ensure each petal rides on 2 lands
    - Letting barrel cool at least 5 min before reloading; most often waiting 8-10 min
    - Applying as consistent loading pressure at end as I can
    - Polished barrel with JB Bore Cleaner

    I've used 3 cans of BH209 so far at a variety of charges (weighed), and haven't been able to get less than 1.5" inch 100 yard 3 shot groups. I don't think it's bench technique because I get cloverleafs with a .308 and .30-06 at 100 yards, and honestly the trigger on the CVA is better than my other rifles. The action locks up tight when closed, especially with a brand new O-ring.

    I feel stumped. Thoughts on what else to try? Or do I just accept this gun is going to shoot about 2" groups and keep all hunting shots to within 100 yards?
     
  2. Mar 11, 2019 #2

    herschel conyers

    herschel conyers

    herschel conyers

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    Some days I shoot sub moa, other days I shoot 2 moa, using the same proven rifle. I don’t blame the rifle. I have come to realize that I am a human being. :)
     
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  3. Mar 11, 2019 #3

    45-70

    45-70

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    Maybe scope has parallax , do you know how to check?
     
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  4. Mar 11, 2019 #4

    Confederate rifleman

    Confederate rifleman

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    Truth be told, minute of angle muzzleloaders are not common.
    A 2 m.o.a. rifle is very good for big game. That's more than accurate enough for shots to 300 yards.
    Try the 250 gr 45 XTP's. I never could get the 240s to shoot. Also, put the rammer in. Some like it.
    Break open rifles can be very sensitive about pressure on the forend. I had a Handi Rifle that despised resting on the sandbag. When put my hand on the bag and grasped the forend, she'd cloverleaf.
    Break open rifles can be tricky.
    Remember to talk nice to it too!
     
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  5. Mar 11, 2019 #5

    WPrather

    WPrather

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    One thing you might of over looked I don’t know. But what power scope do you have on the CVA and what power scope do you have on your centerfires? Your not going to shoot the same at 100yds with a 6 or 9 power scope as you are with a 12 or 16 power. Because you can’t see the target as good. If I’m reloading and what to see what say my 30/06 is capable of group size wise. Then I have a 18 or 24 powered scope on it at the range where I can see good. But for hunting I’ll problem only have a 3x9 or 4x12 on it. My group size at 100yds is probably going to be a little bigger even though the gun is shooting the same because I can’t see as good.

    Also you have to look at and figure in bullet diameter. I can pull a 223 and a 30/06 both out of my gun cabinet. But in no way can you figure there both going to shoot the same groups size. It’s just not going to happen that bigger gun and bigger bullet won’t shoot with that smaller 223 when it comes to group size.

    I have a CVA Optima v2 thumbhole stock that my son uses. The only bullet ever pushed down the barrel has been a Hornady 250gr SST. It’s also only ever shot 777 pellets. I tried 100 and 150grs and it likes 150grs better. It will shoot 1-1.5in groups without any probablems. If I run 1 cleaning patch and 1 dry patch between every shot. If I don’t then it’s a 2-3in gun at 100yds.
     
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  6. Mar 11, 2019 #6

    sabinajiles

    sabinajiles

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    My experience with 3 different CVA rifles, including an Optima V2 are that they shoot best with a snug fitting sabot and generally not as well with the crush rib or 3 petal ex load sabots. There are always exceptions. My most commonly used sabot with .452 bullets is the Harvester smooth, short, black. Same diameter as the HPH-24 but it has shorter petals and the plastic holds up better to the heat in a hot barrel. 110 gr BH209 seems to be a sweet spot for a lot of bullet/ sabots, dropping back to 100 gr for bullets 300 gr ot more. You have tried some good bullets but if you want to try another, one of the most accurate loads I have shot in my CVAs is the Hornady 265 FTX with a Harvester smooth green sabot and 110 gr BH209. As others have mentioned, I don't think it's an issue of your rifle.
     
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  7. Mar 11, 2019 #7

    treepotato

    treepotato

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    That's true for sure. Just with the amount of shooting I've put in since Thanksgiving (about 2 mornings per week) I'd hope to have stumbled across a winning combo by now.

    The parallax for this scope is fixed at 100 yards (according to Nikon specs); there's no turret or objective lens adjustment on this model. When I check at 50 yards there's about 1/4 inch off center movement both horizontal and vertical (total about 1/2 inch or less) if I move my head to the extremes of being able to still see through the scope while the gun is anchored on the bags. At 100 yards I don't notice any movement.

    Will try the 250 gr XTPs too... it's worth a shot. Reality is for deer hunting the ones I've tried so far will all work fine because I'll probably take shots under 50 yards anyway, just had hoped for tighter groups.

    As for forend pressure, I've tried different bag positions, a softer side grab Caldwell front bag, and a harder Caldwell sight in rest, but actually haven't tried just resting on my hand on top of the bags. Having the rod in or out hasn't seemed to make a difference, but I've left it out since the palm saver kept scooting the rod outward at each shot.

    And I always talk nice to my guns, that's a given. Love 'em all, even when they misbehave.
     
  8. Mar 11, 2019 #8

    treepotato

    treepotato

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    Scope power is about the same on my guns... have a 2.5-8x on a .30-06 and a 3-9x on a .308. It wouldn't be fair to compare this 50 cal to my .22-250 wearing a 20x.

    Most of my BH209 loads tried have been 80 gr (weighed) and under, so pushing more max loads downrange may help find a bullet/load that performs better. I'll give that a try.

    This may be the issue. I've been using mostly crush rib sabots. The HPH-12 sabots are far too tight to consider using in the field, which is why I tried the HPH-24s. Will order some Harvester smooth short black sabots and see how they do.

    Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful inputs, it's greatly appreciated.

    The clock is ticking for me... the range I use closes at the end of this month for the summer. Hopefully I'll get to try these ideas out soon, and if not I'm taking good notes in my field book so I know where to start back up after the summer range closure.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2019 #9

    Dougs136Schwartz

    Dougs136Schwartz

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    When i have a .50 cal i can not get to shoot.I have 2 diffent bullets that i almost always can get to shoot. 1st is a 250 grain Powerbelt Aerolite or 270 grain Platnum 2nd 200 grain.40 cal SST with Harvester 50 to .40 cal sabots. Neither bullet will i push hard. 70 to 75 grains Blackhorn 209 by weight. I only try these combos when all else fails .

    Honestly 2 inches at 100 yards is not a bad hunting load. Sometimes its pretty difficult to even get a centerfire to shoot 1MOA.
     
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  10. Mar 11, 2019 #10

    ShawnT

    ShawnT

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    The Harvester Short Black and the MMP HPH-24 is about the same load diameter. When mixing and matching combos watch the bullet diameter. Some of the .45cal bullets are .451 and others are .452. As an example.. In my ultra light the PT Golds (.451) need the MMP HPH-12 to shoot well but will get flyers (not real bad) with the MMP HPH-24 on the other hand one of the .452 bullets almost need a hammer to use the HPH-12 to get past the crown and go just right with the HPH-24.

    I know a lot of guys say not to hold the forend but with lighter rifles (MLs) they tend to flip up and roll a bit on me and it opens my groups up. So I need to hold the forend in the same place as hunting. The Other Down side to that is you have to hold the same way each time or it too will mess up your groups.
     
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  11. Mar 12, 2019 #11

    qwakattak

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    One bullet that has shot VERY well for me in 3 different 50 cal CVA's is the 44cal 240gr XTP's with the green sabot. Also, might want to check screw pressure on the forearm. Changing the pressure can change how it shoots, changes barrel harmonics. If it's tight, you might try looser. If it's loose, you might try tighter. Your trying to get the sweet spot and then mark that spot.
     
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  12. Mar 12, 2019 #12

    Lee 9

    Lee 9

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    Two things ,check your crown for nicks or scratches, check the mounting screws that hold the barrel and action to the stock for equal tightness.
    Then try 250 grain Shock Waves with 110 grains BH and a Harvester short black sabot, a fairly common
    accuracy load.
     
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  13. Mar 12, 2019 #13

    LarryBud

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    I admire your persistence. I've worked on many MZs and sub MOA is elusive with 2-3" 100 yards groups my standard. the tight groups come together now and again but something happens past 75 Yards.

    My White Bison .54 would pile them them in one after another but shooting 600 grains of lead is not a extended range experience even with the White.

    BTW. I'll shoot 1 MOA with my 223 all day long. There are many for factors with a MZ. I'd add trying other powders and changing the oil you store it with. Perhaps the sabots aren't gripping the rifling as tight as they could.
     
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  14. Mar 12, 2019 #14

    Far Sighted

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    It appears like you are in a test of frustration. That rifle has warranty so I would ask CVA for another and tell all those things didn't get the results you expected.

    I purchased a new CVA Optima V2 elite thrumbhole with KonusPro 3-9×40 Scope mounted in December of 2018.

    I figured I would try the Konus scope before I installed the "better one". Right away I found I had something special. It shot very well with 100 gr of pyrodex pellets behind a 250 gr SST Hornady bullets and CCI 209M primers. I was so happy. The design of the breech plug is so good that most of the power is burned with little residue remaining. Shooting 20 shots within cleaning is nothing. I do a light swabbing between shots with windex on a 2" round cotton patch. The first shot POI is no different than the following shots. Shots were from caldwell lead sled II mounted on a rigid shooting bench. Not sure if I will go to BH209 until after I use up existing supplies or stay with what I have.
     
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  15. Mar 12, 2019 #15

    GM54-120

    GM54-120

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    Never heard of an Optima Elite V2. The Optima Elite is a much older model with a steel frame. Forerunner to the CVA Apex.
     
  16. Mar 12, 2019 #16

    WPrather

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    A 2in group isn’t all that bad for a muzzeloader at 100yds. I’m not really a BH209 guy or a loose powder guy. But from everything I have read consistent seating pressure when loading is important too. When it comes to a really good group that could be all that’s holding you back.

    Like I said I’m not a BH209 guy I shoot 777. But I like to be carrying a clean gun and shooting a clean barrel every shot but that’s just me. I also only shoot sabots myself. But I do think sabots are the weak link in accuracy in a muzzeloader. That sabot has to go down that barrel the same every shot. That means with sabots barrel heat and barrel dirtiness matters more. If that barrel get hot that sabot would get hot and softer and not grip the same. If that barrel is getting dirtier shot after shot and harder to load shot after shot. Then that sabot isn’t going down the barrel the same every shot. Then you have the plastic sabot build up inside the barrel shot after shot. With 777 you can have a 1in gun on a clean barrel turn into a 3in gun or worse on a dirty barrel. I know BH209 is supposed to be a lot better. But with plastic sabots it’s still got to have some affect. The guys shooting full bore conicals and land riding bullets probably don’t see it near as bad.

    I’m not a muzzeloader bench competition shooting guy I’m just a hunter. But I bet for example. If you take Hankins with his custom smokeless muzzeloader. When he is trying to shoot that perfect tiny little group at a competition. He knows he only has a certain window of shots to shoot that group in. I bet he counts his shots he knows when accuracy is going to start to suffer and he is going to have to clean that gun and start over. He is shooting a smokeless gun, BH209 is even worse. He is also shooting land riding bullets. Sabots would really make that plan fall apart.

    I don’t know how much any of that matters. But when it comes down to group size it’s all got to matter some.
     
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  17. Mar 13, 2019 #17

    GregK

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    Been they this. 2 things come to mind.
    90-110gr BH209, Harvester “smooth” sabots....not crush rib. Then a Barnes TEZ250 or a Hornady Monoflex 250
    Also are you cleaning both the large & small passages of the breech plug?
    Do this & it should come to life. Ran into this on an Apex & I was ready to wrap it around the tree. The sabots made a HUGE difference.
    Good luck

    Greg
     
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  18. Mar 14, 2019 #18

    Danny Ross

    Danny Ross

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    With muzzle-loaders, unlike cartridge firearms, there are more variables: pressure of the ramrod on the charge as it is being seated, amount of force needed to push the bullet down the barrel, moisture in propellant, quantity of lubricant on projectile, positioning of the primer in its seat, resistance in the barrel to projectile traveling towards the muzzle. Those are just the ones that come to mind at this moment.

    My advice, if you want a tack driver, go with a cartridge firearm. You eliminate a lot of variables from the get-go. Even with cartridge firearms, the MOA rifle is the exception rather than the rule.
     
  19. Mar 17, 2019 #19

    mnoland30

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    Remount your scope. There is a current thread about new guns from the factory coming with loose scope mounts. I told a friend, and he checked his new CVA, and found the screws were loose. Clean and put Loctite or nail polish on them. I bought a .243 Savage a few years ago, and couldn't get it to shoot any load I put in it. Finally remounted the scope, and solved the problem. That said, muzzleloaders are picky. Consistency is key. Good luck.
     
  20. Mar 17, 2019 #20

    treepotato

    treepotato

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    Yep, I started that thread while trying to improve this gun's accuracy. In this case it wasn't the problem, as group sizes didn't shrink afterward (there were enough screws tight enough the mount didn't leak any if its oil out), but I'm sure it would have become a problem soon.
     

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